On the Town

Dressed to the Nines, Fashion Tech Turn Out for the Fashion 2.0 Awards

“This I would never have bought online."
Simon Doonan, Justin Livingston==The 4th Annual Fashion 2.0 Awards==SVA Theatre, NYC==March 13, 2013==©Patrick McMullan==photo-Dustin Wayne Harris/PatrickMcMullan.com====

Simon Doonan, Justin Livingston (Photo: Dustin Wayne Harris/PatrickMcMullan.com)

The invitation for the fourth annual Fashion 2.0 Awards—organized by the Style Coalition to honor “innovative fashion brands”—read “black tie suggested,” although the crowd at last Wednesday’s event at the SVA Theater seemed to interpret that with a little leeway.

Day-to-night ensembles mixed with full-fledged formal gowns. A statuesque young woman slipped by with pearls draped across her neck and a Forever 21 tag peeking out of her dress’s sheer overlay. Another towering belle confessed to a terror of earrings (something about how she can’t help but imagine them being yanked out).

Edging into a scrum in the lobby, the Transom found our way next to the evening’s keynote speaker, Barney’s New York creative ambassador at large (and former Observer columnist) Simon Doonan. The diminutive Mr. Doonan flashed in the dark lobby, wearing a metallic electric blue coat. A young woman turned and asked us to snap an iPhone photo; we took the pic and then took the opening.

“I never thought people would buy things online,” said Mr. Doonan, addressing the confluence of fashion and technology. “How wrong was I about that? So I’m not a visionary.”

And not a convert, either, it turned out. Mr. Doonan confessed that while he’s happy to buy certain items online, like sneakers or underwear—“replenishment things,” as he put it—he’s still not fully sold on the idea.

“This?” Mr. Doonan gestured to his statement coat. “This I would never have bought online. You have to try it on.”

Another woman pounced. “I love this jacket. I want to take a picture with you too. Do you mind?” she said, handing the Transom her smartphone. Mr. Doonan smiled for the camera and then headed off to his seat as the M.C. for the evening, Robert Verdi, took the stage, greeting all the various types he suspected were in attendance:

“Pimps, prostitutes, perverts, hustlers, hookers, superstars, wannabes, celebrities, incognito celebrities, insecure celebrities, celebrity handlers, unemployed people, lovers, losers, authors, entrepreneurs, wannabes, writers, dwarfs—hi, Simon!—weirdos, queers, gossipers, do-gooders, chic people, weak people, therapists—just saying!—douchebags, socialites, bloggers, tweeters, social media leaders and social climbers.”

Mr. Verdi then added that a stud had just fallen off his $2,000 shoes, and this was only the second time he’d worn them. “Can you guys all tweet the Louboutin people?” he pleaded.

As for the honors, the award for Best Pinterest went to Anthropologie, naturally. Best Twitter went to @DKNY for the fourth year running. And the award for Best Mobile App went to Gilt on the Go, which was accepted by a nattily attired mobile VP named Yonatan Feldman.

DVF took home Best Online Video for its collaboration with Google Glass (which is practically cheating), thereby earning Google co-founder Sergey Brin what must have been his first-ever shout-out in such glittering company.

Each petite trophy was presented by a pair of Style Coalition bloggers decked out in borrowed Rent the Runway attire. And coincidentally or not, Rent the Runway co-founders Jenny Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman picked up a Visionary Award.

“Thank you all so much for this incredible honor,” said Ms. Fleiss. “We’re going to let ourselves believe it has nothing to do with them all wanting to wear Rent the Runway dresses tonight. But if it was, that’s okay, too.”

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com